Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D) is expected to resign Thursday following the latest round of sexual harrassment allegations against the two-term Senator. If that does happen:
- Minnesota's Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton will appoint a replacement. Some names being mentioned include Rep. Keith Ellison and Rep. Tim Walz, along with Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.
- A special election will be held to coincide with the 2018 midterm elections. The winner of that election will serve the remainder of Franken's term, which is next up for election in 2020
- According to Sabato's Crystal Ball, the race will start at 'Leans Democrat'
Assuming Franken resigns, Crystal Ball will start next year's Senate special at Leans Democratic - more coming in the CB tomorrow morning— Kyle Kondik (@kkondik) December 6, 2017
This rating is likely due, at least in part, to the close result in the 2016 presidential election. Although Minnesota hasn't voted Republican since 1972 - the longest such streak across the 50 states - Hillary Clinton only won here by 1.5%.
A special election means that both Minnesota seats will be contested in 2018. At this time, Sen. Amy Klobuchar looks 'safe' for the regularly scheduled election.
Democrats will now be forced to defend 26 of 34 seats contested in 2018. We'll be updating our 2018 interactive map in the days ahead to reflect the additional contest.